How do users categorize products in my e-commerce site?

Information architecture
Card sorting
Contributed by

Creating intuitive navigation for your e-commerce site is key to an engaging and enjoyable shopping experience for your customers.

If you’re unsure how to best categorize your products, a card sort test on the UsabilityHub platform can help. 

There are two types of card sort tasks you can create within the UsabilityHub test builder: 

  • Open card sort: You ask participants to sort cards into categories that they determine, and they label each category themselves.
  • Closed card sort: Participants sort cards into predefined categories.

In this simple open card sort example, we created cards with images and descriptions for an e-commerce electrical and home appliances site, and asked participants to sort and categorize them.

When viewing the results, the card view gives us a complete list of cards and the categories that participants sorted the cards into. We can see the percentage and number of participants that sorted each card into a category. For deeper analysis, the category view shows us a complete list of all the categories participants defined. This includes the percentage and number of participants that placed each card into a category.

The agreement matrix shows us the results at a high level, with each cell displaying the percentage of participants that placed each card into a category. And the similarity matrix shows how often pairs of cards are sorted into the same category.

The system automatically groups categories with exactly the same spelling, even if different title cases are used. The next step from here is to group and standardize the categories, which we can do under the categories tab on the results page. We can also merge grouped categories together and customize the name of a group of categories. For example, we can merge all the categories relating to cameras and camera accessories, or laptops and computers.

We can download the data in CSV format for further refinement. Once we have a refined list of items and categories, we can create a closed card test to validate the categories and identify what performs best with our target market.